“It’s been waiting for you…”

There is no doubt in my mind that you’ve heard {probably 1000 times} Taylor Swift’s song : Welcome To New York. I’m even pretty positive that you’ve either gotten in stuck in your head or had it on repeat for some time. As for me, it provoked an urge that I could no longer resist. To finally take the trip that had been long over due for over 10 years!

Molly and I have been friends since 2001. You could say that we are, in fact; best friends. We met in middle school at the end of 8th grade, spent everyday of Summer together before being split up to two high schools. That did not stop our friendship, since every weekend we were inseparable. In our sophomore year we had grand plans to take our moms on mother-daughter trip together to New York after I had recently gone with my family. That trip never actually came to fruition… until now.

As I was making my daily commute to work, Taylor’s song came on the radio and I had decided it was time to try and make this trip happen. Molly had agreed that she wanted to make it work and so we did… planned the trip: bought the tickets and the hotel and the rest was up to the City.

This is the tale of the long awaited trip!

SnapseedPlanning started mid-January, about 5 days after getting back from Joshua Tree. Since Molly lives in Atlanta and I in Houston… coordinating flights was a challenge. We managed to find flights that arrived and departed LaGuardia Airport within 30 minutes of each other {like a match made in heaven}. Come to find out Molly’s flight was actually arriving to New York in the PM, not the AM like we thought. {All worked out in the end; she managed to book an earlier flight, after arriving to the airport at the butt crack of dawn to make her “AM” flight-seriously, this happened!} Needless to say, I was in NYC hours before she arrived (See how I managed my solo time below).  Hotel, was the next step in the planning process. She’d stayed on Times Square on previous visits (that weren’t with me) and I’ve stayed in Hell’s Kitchen, Times Square, and Lenox Hill. I wanted to get us out of the norm of “touristy” area hotels {If that is  a thing} and opted for the Hyatt in Koreatown. It was proximal to a few “Hot-spots,” close enough but not to far from things we might want to do. Turned out to be a great location!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What to do, then became the topic. We talked and text about what things we had done on our previous (separate) trips to New York and found things through Pinterest and vast video shares on Facebook. This being the 4th time for me to go to New York I had wanted to finally get out the the Statute of Liberty, but of course Brad gave me the no-go because he wants to go. So that got ruled out on the things to do list, but left everything else wide open.

So what did we do? {watch our vacation video below, then keep scrolling to see more}

Since Molly’s late arrival at 6PM we decided to go eat. I’d been stalking this place called Lupa Osteria Romana for about 2 years now on Instagram, after seeing them as a recommened account to follow. It caught my eye with handmade tortelloni videos and it was everything I wanted it to be!

 Items to order:  Pork Belly Tortelloni with Chestnuts & Butternut Squash, Bucatini All’Amatriciana, Spinach Salad with Apples & Crispy Speck. (ask the bartender to a wine recommendation too)

This place is tiny! Like, not enough room to walk around tiny and they even use the bar for dining seating. It’s partly owned by Mario Batali, so you know what you’re getting into here. Deliciousness.

Day 2: 

The day began with bagels and coffee. We stopped at what I thought was a bagel recommendation spot, but had forgotten the name. Either way, this was not the spot. The bagels were sub-par and coffee was moderate, enough to get us through the morning until lunch. Off we went to Times Square to shop! {On my last visit I wanted to get Molly’s son a T-shirt from the M & M store, but didn’t know what size. Now that she was here it would be easier to pick his size! }IMG_3173

We made our way through the crowds of people, feeling like salmon going up stream we made it over to the Disney store first. And like the little kids we are, we ran around the store full of excitement! {Seeing a ginormous boxed Woody doll was thrilling} Then we made our way to the middle of Times Square to take a few photos and really get that ‘tourist’ experience together. It was at this point that we realized how cold it really was, a bitter 17 degrees and we didn’t pack enough warm accessories since the weather said it would be about 40 degrees for most days. Thankfully Times square offers a billion souvenir stores. We snagged some corny matching New York tech gloves and hats for $14. Worth every penny!

After bundling ourselves in New York gear we ran to the Hershey’s store-specifically for their new Reese’s peanut butter cups with Resse’s pieces inside. Then to the M & M store, where we probably spent entirely too much time there but it was so much fun! I was able to get Molly’s babies some gifts and some for myself. {We made a second trip here before leaving too, because one trip was not enough!}IMG_3257

Next stop was Top of the Rock, which is at Rockefeller Center {you know where the famous Christmas Tree and Ice skating rink is}. Neither of us have been here and I was dying to see the opposing view from the Empire state building. If you haven’t been up here, I would highly suggest it! The view is blocked by glass on the first outdoor level and by chest high fencing on the upper level. It’s a lower level view than the Empire, but just as amazing a view! Try not to get lost under the Rockefeller basement shopping. It can be a little confusing. Once we came back down, it was a absolute must to go skating. It’s been several years since we’ve been ice skating, but we were here! Molly and I strapped on some skates and did everything we could not to bust our asses. We made it, no scrapes, falls or bruises and I didn’t break my selfie stick or phone! {Yep, I am now the proud owner of a selfie stick-I bought it specifically to capture some of these videos and photos. Honestly, it was a pretty damned good $7.50 investment!}

The Lego store is perfectly located at Rockefeller Center and of course, houses some pretty amazing Lego sculptures. Molly wanted to grab a gift for her littles, the Lego movies have really enticed kids to learn to build things. {Love this, thanks Lego}

We then made a stop inside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, just to see and to take small break in attempts to plan for signing up for a Broadway show lottery. A friend of mine sent me a link to see shows at a ridiculous discounted rate. The stipulations are that you may not have a great view or be close to the stage, but you may have a chance to see the show. (If you want more information on this site you can visit:  See a Broadway Show) Unfortunately for us, we had missed the lottery and shows all together. {Note: Most shows don’t run on Monday and some shows are only during the day–plan accordingly!}

IMG_3319

It was about 4:30 PM when we left St. Patrick’s before Spanish mass began. Molly and I decided to start heading back towards the hotel and figure out dinner plans because we skipped lunch. On our way down 5th Avenue we browsed by some window displays {which are always my favorite thing to look at, in almost any city} and made our way to the New York Public Library. Remember when IMG_3323Carrie found out Mr. Big wasn’t there for their wedding (Sex and the City-The Movie); well, we found the stair case where this scene took place. IMG_3370Not specifically looking for it but just to browse the library. The architecture is pretty and so are the ceilings in many of the rooms. One thing I did find out, there aren’t many books here…encyclopedias and britannicas. Most of the books are down the street at the University library. The library closes promptly at 5 PM on Sunday, they won’t let you in and will shuffle everyone out at this time so get there early if you plan to linger.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We ate a very late lunch (5:15 PM) at a place called Ayza across from the hotel, we decided to keep it light since we knew were were in for a good dinner.

Back at the hotel, we kicked up our feet, dumped out some of our souvenirs (checking over everything we got), charged our phones and made some dinner plans. Then it was off again after an hour or so of taking a much needed break.

Since the hotel was located only a few blocks from the Empire State Building, we decided to bare the frigid South side of the building to view the city lights. Molly hadn’t been up at night. It’s a must, if you haven’t done it!! Last year I took Brad up the Empire after midnight and we couldn’t feel our faces from the blistering cold wind blowing up from the Hudson. {Brrr!} This time, it was unusually calm and extremely quiet, like eerily quiet. I always love seeing the city from above!

Molly picked dinner tonight. Buns Bar in Chelsea.IMG_3446 She found this place on Facebook, one of those viral videos about how fun and fancy the Milkshakes are here. I won’t lie, they were fun and pretty tasty! Another tiny place with not much room to get around; a majority of this place is a bar-hence the name Buns Bar! Get a MILKSHAKE! Each one is decorated differently with candy, cereal, frosting, sprinkles, etc. Probably share one per couple… I believe we may have over done it with 2!IMG_3436

Dinner discussion consisted of finding Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment and that we did! Since we were within 15 blocks of her place we trekked in the 19 degree weather to get there. Little did we ever know, watching Sex and the City that she lived so close to the river. Who knew? There it was draped with a chain across it and a small note and box. The tenants of the property ask kindly that you do not cross the chain to sit on the steps but that you help donate to homeless and homeless animals. I put in $2, we kept pretty quiet since it was almost 10 PM and took a few fan photos. It wasn’t exactly what you would wish it to be. I definitely wouldn’t pay anyone to take the “Sex and the City” tour either! In case you are looking to find her stoop:  it’s located on Perry Street between Bleeker & W 4th. {thats’s FREE}

We ended the night shopping for toner and dancing in Duane Reade before hitting the hay for the night.

Day 3:

Today was the day that I would finally walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and ride the Subway for the first time! Morning began with a cup of coffee from Gregory’s just down the street from the hotel. 2 lattes to-go and then we were off.

We skipped breakfast since we got such a late start (11 AM) and opted to walk to lunch at The Bao, a cute dumpling place I’ve had my eye on for a year. The schmancy champagne milk tea drew me in! Along our walk to the restaurant a little mustard shop caught my eye- Maille was advertising their new truffle mustard. I purchased some little bottles of Lemon & Garlic mustard for my mother along with a beautiful orange tea towel.IMG_3498

The Bao is located in East Village on a quite little street with some interesting places like a palm reader offering $5 readings and a basement comic book shop with trendy food places like this one. Dumplings here are pretty legit and tasty! We ordered pork and crab dumplings. Pork won, hands down! More exciting was the champagne milk tea, they serve it in a small champagne looking bottle in a clear plastic ice bucket. {Adorable!} Presentation is everything, this place really hit the nail on the head. Like any other New York restaurant, it was small and had brick interior but what really caught my eye was their use of house gutters along the ceiling. It was so unusual but made perfect sense. I highly suggest to make your way out here. They are located at: 13 St. Mark’s Place. You can get here via the Union Square Subway.

Speaking of Subway, after lunch Molly took me to ride my first Subway ride. It was slightly complicated as to which entrance to take. Thankfully technology is at our finger tips and will guide you to which train and how far to walk, even which exit you’ll get off the train and which direction you need to exit the station. Of course, my first experience buying a metro card my card didn’t even read when I swiped it! A really sweet lady swiped her card for me, so I could get through. {I repaid the favor by gifting my card to someone on our last day} We rode down to the Brooklyn Bridge so we could walk over it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Surprisingly, walking over the bridge took about 40 minutes. Now, it would normally take about 20 except we stopped and took photos and video and for a small moment just paused to look at things. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day to cross it. We spotted the carousel as we got closer to the Brooklyn side and made way for Dumbo as we got toward the end of the bridge. IMG_3579Brooklyn is pretty quite and very clean. It almost has that “new” feeling too it as if it were just built. It’s cleaner than New York; though I’m not sure how but it is. I got very excited walking around the area. I was specifically looking for a spot that I had seen photos of (everywhere) on Pinterest. When we came across it, I was very excited but also confused. What seemed like the Brooklyn Bridge in photos, turned out to be the Manhattan Bridge.{Or maybe I’m just stupid and didn’t do any research, but hey lesson learned!} After snapping maybe too many photos here at this perfect instagrammable spot we walked to find the carousel. Unfortunately it is closed on Mondays & Tuesdays AND Wednesdays. We decided to grab a small snack and head back to Manhattan. A cute patisserie shop was near by that we stopped at called Almondine.

The longest Uber ride ever dropped us off at the Central Park Zoo. We arrived just in time for it to close! So then we decided to find the carousel in the park. I called first before walking across the park to ride it and you’ll never guess… It was booked for a private event! Turned down by 3 things at this point– we were bummed. We took ourselves to The Plaza Hotel so I could show Molly the Eloise shop where we bought her daughter a few things. The plaza is quite grand and for those who don’t mind spending an arm and a leg for a few nights stay.

Molly had set us a reservation for dinner at 8:30 PM. We had time to kill before then and walked around 5th avenue. Molly wanted to find FAO Schwartz, only to be let down that they turned it into the new 5th Ave. Apple Store. We walked into Tiffany {I got a necklace}, we went to Dolce & Gabbana and then wrapped back around to the 57th Street subway station. On the way we found the famous LOVE Sculpture. Honestly, I’ve probably passed this thing a million times on previous trips and have never seen the damned thing! Anyway, photos were a must here before riding the subway back to the hotel. (Want to find it? 6th Ave & W 55th Street)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

New York has this strangeness about it; you can literally feel the change in the air, right before the evening rush to get home begins. The energy starts to pick up as the lights begin to flicker on in the evening. People are on a mission, the pace is faster and the sounds are muffled by the crowded streets. It’s an interesting thing to observe and by the time we reached Herald Square near the hotel, we knew we were right in the middle of it all: people buzzing by and cars whizzing down the streets, the subways rumbling below your feet with all the city lights glowing around you. If you stop and watch for even just a second, you’ll feel the pulse of New York City.

IMG_3732Dinner was at Raclette. A french style cuisine with a New York twist. This was another one of those places Molly found on a Facebook video share, but trust me when I say you need to eat here! Served table side, melted Alpine cheese is scraped over your meal. {Seriously, I’m drooling now just thinking about this meal again} Molly and I both ordered the SuisseMelted Raclette Cheese Scraped onto Roasted New Potatoes, served with Cornichons, Pickled White Pearl Onions and a choice of Viande Sechee or Prosciutto di Parma or Jambon de Paris.

Yum. Just yum! Loved this place, it was very cute too. I really loved the bar and its water tower shaped facade wine on tap feature. I was so tired after this long day, but Molly wanted dessert so we opted to go back to Ayza again. They serve a great chocolate fondue plate with strawberries, bananas and rice crispy treats. We finished our night here with the fondue and decaf coffee.

Day 4: (our last day)

IMG_3743Both our flights would be leaving at 6:30 PM, which gave us almost a full day of fun to have before leaving. We woke up around 8 AM to shower and pack since check out was at noon so we left our bags with the front desk. Thankfully the Hyatt had umbrellas for guest use because it was raining. Today we did eat breakfast! Molly took me to Juniors, right off Times Square (behind the Marriott Marquis). They have a traditional/ classic american breakfast with options of french toast or pancakes. I chose french toast with eggs and Molly got eggs, bacon and pancakes.IMG_3762

After breakfast we swung back over to Times Square for a few more souvenirs before heading to the Guggenheim Museum. There are never too many museums, especially Art museums! I thought it would be a good idea considering the rain and it is much smaller that the MoMA. The building was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and it’s quite a unique building for this city. Like the MoMa, I was excited to be seeing more artists I hadn’t seen before and paintings I had only seen in my art history books. What made the Guggenheim even better was seeing my favorite sculpture that I had previously seen at the Peggy Guggenheim in Venice, Italy. I never thought I would be able to see it again and there she was: Woman with her throat cut by Alberto Giacometti. {Its a very strange thing for me to like this piece so much, but there is something about it that just pleases me. She is always displayed in a slightly different manner, but there is a vulnerability about it that is expressive in this piece} We saw some Kandinsky’s, Pollock’s, Picasso’s, Van Gogh’s, Manet’s, Mondrian’s, Gaugin’s, etc. and purchased ourselves some mobiles in the gift shop because I’ve never been able to find one that I liked even after seeing several Alexander Calder mobiles in various museums.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

IMG_3793
At Dylan’s:  the schnoz-berries taste like schnoz-berries!

We left the museum looking for a quick bite to eat before having to head back to the hotel and catch a ride back to La Guardia. We chose Serendipity 3 and then found Dylan’s Candy Bar but ran out of time to eat at either. Luckily, we made it to the airport in plenty of time to sit down and enjoy Auntie Ann’s before leaving.

We made the most out of our trip– exploring as many things as we could and most importantly, we finally took our long awaited trip together to New York City!

Thanks for making this trip amazing & fun. Love you BFF! Until next time…

IMG_3801

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s